If you are in Osaka this autumn and want a short getaway to enjoy the season, there’s a beautiful place considerably near the city. Though it is close by, it has a completely different feeling from Osaka. This place is called Minoo Park (or Minoo Koen).
Minoo Park is a Quasi-National Park, located on the outskirts of Osaka. It is in a valley with some forests and a waterfall. It is one of the best places to see autumn colors in the Kansai region. The autumn colors in Minno Park usually reach their peak around late November.
The good thing is this park can be reached in less than half an hour from downtown Osaka. From Umeda station, take the Hankyu Takarazuka line to Ishibashi station (15 minutes), then transfer to the Hankyu Minoo line to Minoo station (5 minutes). This trip will cost around 270 Yen (one way). Once you reach Minoo Station, just cross the street and take a short walk to Minoo Park entrance. This park has no admission fee.
The walking trails are about three kilometers alongside the Minoo river and lead to Minoo waterfall. The trails are relatively flat for the first half of the track, and a bit uphill for the second half. This paved track is in good condition. However, if you want more of a challenge, there is an unpaved track on the other side of the river.
Some stalls that sell food and souvenirs, and vending machines are there to prevent you from becoming dehydrated. An interesting insect museum, some temple buildings, including Ryuanji Temple are located about mid way trough the walking track. And of course, you can see a great deal of stunning autumn scenery with the splashing sound of the river and fresh air. Around 1 hour of leisurely walking will end with Minoo waterfall, a 33-meter waterfall which is the main attraction of the park.
Take a rest for a while at the observation deck in front of Minoo waterfall, enjoy the beautiful scenery, stretch, eat your breakfast or lunch or take a quick nap before heading back to the hustle and bustle of Osaka.
On the way back, don’t forget to buy a unique snack and the specialty of Minoo city in autumn: Momiji tempura. Momiji tempura is a maple leaf deep-fried with tempura batter. It can be found at the food stall near the park entrance.
If you are not feeling too tired, you can take a tourist bus to get around Minoo city. But if you feel a bit worn out, there is a foot spa next to the station where you can relax and end your lovely getaway from Osaka.